PHILADELPHIA (AP) – When Charlie Morton hit a pair of Phillies batters in the first inning, Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon hollered from the dugout and the umpires talked to both managers.
All this after Pittsburgh and Philadelphia cleared the benches earlier this week during a spring training game.
“There were warnings put out for obvious reasons,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “I don’t have any explanation for Morton, but it was a little bit scary. Two days before (the season) balls going all over the place. That was my concern to the umpire.”
Turns out, there was an explanation for Morton.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game that Morton, who had hip surgery last September, is headed to the disabled list with recurring trouble. Morton will be replaced in the rotation by Vance Worley.
Morton’s spring struggles continued as he walked five, hit Ryan Howard and Grady Sizemore, and gave up six runs and four hits in 1 2-3 innings.
“I’m out there throwing behind guys. That’s crazy,” Morton said. “You want to be professional out there, but that’s a joke.”
Morton threw behind Chase Utley in the first inning, did the same while facing Sizemore in the second and almost hit Carlos Ruiz in the face.
Even warmups were a struggle, as Morton airmailed a pitch over the head of catcher Tony Sanchez before the second inning. Sanchez had to get out of his crouch to catch most of the rest of the warmup pitches.
Morton had an 8.47 ERA in five spring outings. He said he’s not feeling pain in his hip, but generally feels out of sorts.
“It’s just weird in my delivery,” he said.
Said Hurdle: “What you saw today was a guy battling who wasn’t able to battle.”
On Monday, the Phillies and Pirates tangled during Pittsburgh’s 18-4 romp at its spring site in Bradenton, Florida.
Utley drove in two runs and David Buchanan pitched five scoreless innings in the final tuneup for both teams.
Utley culminated an impressive spring in which he hit .412 with 11 RBIs and four home runs.
Pirates: In his five spring outings, four of them starts, Morton allowed 16 earned runs on 23 hits and 10 walks in 17 innings. He went 6-12 with a 3.72 ERA and a career-high 126 strikeouts last season. He had surgery on his right hip on Sept. 26.
“There’s no pain, but some things aren’t working,” Morton said.
Phillies: Buchanan was sharp from the jump, striking out the first two Pirates in an efficient, two-hit performance that was symbolic of his spring. In 21 innings, the right-hander allowed 14 hits while striking out 15 and walking just two.
The 25-year-old allowed three earned runs or less in his final 16 starts last season, the longest such streak by a Phillies rookie since Bruce Ruffin in 1986.
“He opened up a lot of eyes,” Sandberg said. “He worked on things, being a complete pitcher and showed it throughout spring training. He really stepped up. For him to focus in on that and do the job he’s done this spring, it’s fun to watch.”
Buchanan is slated to be Philadelphia’s No. 3 starter and will open the season Thursday against the Red Sox. He pitched to a 1.29 ERA in six games this spring.
“Overall, I was pleased,” Buchanan said. “I want to be consistent in the strike zone and try not to be too fine.”
Pirates: C Chris Stewart (hamstring), OF Jaff Decker (calf) and INF Justin Sellers (Achilles’) are set to begin the season on the DL.
Phillies: RHP Ken Giles returned four days after leaving the mound with back stiffness. The hard-throwing reliever was tagged for two runs on two hits while getting only one out. Despite the results, Giles was pleased that he felt pain free.
“Wasn’t really working on anything,” he said. “Just wanted to get back on the mound, kind of like practice.”
The Phillies announced that RHP Jerome Williams will start Friday’s game against Washington.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano takes the mound for Pittsburgh in Monday’s season opener at Cincinnati.
Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels starts against RHP Clay Buchholz as Philadelphia hosts the Red Sox on Monday afternoon.
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